A former British-Bangladeshi teacher today walked out of jail following his acquittal in the 2016 Dhaka cafe attack case nearly two years after his arrest in the brazen terror assault in which 22 people, including an Indian girl, were killed.
Former North South University teacher Hasnat Rezaul Karim and his family were at the Holey Artisan Cafe and Bakery on July 1, 2016 when five militants with assault rifles and machetes stormed the popular cafe in the capital's posh Gulshan neighbourhood.
Hasnat, a 49-year-old British national of Bangladeshi origin, was among the several other diners released by the terrorists in the early morning of July 2 before the army stormed it.
Hasnat, though apparently a hostage during the attack, had been kept under close watch since the day.
Police detained him in August 2016 under Section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which allows making arrest without a warrant.
One of the five attackers killed in the raid to free the hostages was also found to be a student of North South University.
However, investigators found no evidence against Hasnat and his name had been left off the charge sheet, the bdnews reported.
An anti-terrorism tribunal in Dhaka yesterday issued arrest warrants for two fugitives after accepting the charges
against eight suspected Islamic State militants in the cafe attack case.
The tribunal ordered the release of Hasnat after police investigation found no evidence of his terror link.
The authorities at Kashimpur jail in Gazipur released him this afternoon after court documents reached the prison last night.
The police probe has found involvement of 21 people in the attack. Of the 21 militants, five were killed by commandoes at the crime scene, while 13 others died in subsequent anti-terror clampdowns.
The six accused named in the charge sheet have already confessed to their involvement in the attack.
None of those arrested alive named Hasnat. His involvement was not found during any stage of investigations. That's why we have not included his name in the charge sheet, Monirul Islam, chief of police's Counterterrorism and Transnational Crimes Unit, said after filing the charge sheet.
Hasnat had tried to secure bail several times but failed as the court agreed with state lawyers that he might be named in the charge sheet.
After his detention, Abdul Baten, who was a joint commissioner of the Detective Branch, said the former university teacher was shown arrested in the cafe attack case because specific evidence of his involvement in the attack was found.
Hasnat's wife had denied the allegation, saying they had to act on orders from the militants.
The Islamic State group said it had carried out the cafe attack -- a claim rejected by Bangladesh.
Law enforcers in Bangaldesh have blamed the revived faction of home-grown militant group Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh or Neo-JMB for the attack in which 22 people including an Indian girl and 17 foreigners were killed.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)